Re: It's IBM dummy

From: Dave Winer (
Date: Fri May 04 2001 - 06:23:02 PDT

Danny, you got it in your #2 section. There's going to be a lot of marketing
to developers in the coming months for sure, from all sides, esp from
Microsoft. I hadn't thought of the Mundie speech in that context, but look
at my remarks, I'm a developer, and I liked what they said, at face-value.
There you go. Good marketing.

But I don't like the idea of getting locked in (to put it mildly), and I'm
pretty sure that Microsoft's strategy, despite their protestations to the
contrary, is about locking developers (and users) in.

I think the open source phenomenon and the move to Java by developers is a
response to Microsoft's previous lock-in strategies. If one were to do a
Mundie-speech-in-reverse, it would point out that in its 25 year history,
Microsoft has only had a strategy without a significant lock-in component
when they were coming from behind.

Now it's time to see if the OSS community can emit a leader who can keep his
wits about him and be dignified and not hiss too much (as Andrew Leonard
exemplified) and hit the ball back over the net. Microsoft says that GPL is
bad for free development, there is a good rebuttal -- so is Microsoft.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Danny O'Brien" <>
To: "Dave Winer" <>
Cc: <>
Sent: Thursday, May 03, 2001 11:35 PM
Subject: Re: It's IBM dummy

> On Thu, May 03, 2001 at 10:14:30PM -0700, Dave Winer wrote:
> > Dave you ignorant slut.
> >
> > Apache is not GPL.
> >
> >
> >
> > Dave
> ...and I don't think it's IBM. Well, partly it is (because it's always
> IBM with Microsoft, like it's always partly about one's Dad when you're
> home improvement). But there doesn't seem to any point in these "the GPL
> bad for business" lines if the target is IBM. Mundie's comments don't seem
> very well targetted to IBM's customers.
> Here are his points, as I see them:
> First: The good bits of open source (community, standards, access
> source, fast response to bugs), we do already.
> Second: The bad bits of OSS destabilise the IP economy.
> There's a bit in the middle about forking and a throwaway dig at "inherent
> security risks", but the main point is that OSS is no better than MS, and
> for business, in the most general way.
> I can see how the "good bits" argument could be seen as a response to
> sponsorship of open source. I don't see why IBM's customers would
> care about the second bit. I don't even know why analysts would make much
> about it. Bleating about how much damage a company's policy does to the
> good doesn't really effect its share price, sales or market share unless
a) it
> might be against the law or b) somebody gets badly hurt in front a major
> network's TV cameras. Microsoft, more than anyone, knows this: people were
> whining for years about how *shockingly* evil it was being in the
> But, heck, in business terms, who cares? Does their product look better
> the competition for me? Cool. Sign me up.
> I'm pretty sure that most people's moaning about Microsoft's business
> practices effect on the overall market had a pretty small (and calculated)
> loss on MS's profitsheet. I'm sure that Mundie and Allchin's complaints
> OSS being "bad for the IP economy" won't have much impact on IBM (or
> else's) OSS-based sales.
> So who does care about "bad for the IP economy" comments? Who does care
> about discussions of the common weal? Who cares if Microsoft says that
> the GPL can infect software, and destroy IP?
> The government does. And, I think, many small software developers.
> Here's what I think is Microsoft's threat model for Open Source:
> 1. Open Source companies are going to go tits up, because
> there's no business model. We can't find one, therefore
> there isn't one. We can outlive this corporate
> dalliance with OSS.
> 2. We're losing developers to open source, because it's
> a comfortable, cheap, arena for them. In particular,
> we're losing fledgling developers, and we're losing
> academia to open source. This isn't a problem for
> our balance sheet, but it's bad for R&D, and it's bad
> for our future. The risk is always that the next killer
> app comes from outside MS, on a non-MS platform. We
> have to win back this group.
> 3. The free software argument has a strong appeal to
> the public sector. Choosing free software over
> proprietary is a *political* decision, and it's an
> easy decision for govt. departments to make without
> understanding the consequences. We need to dissuade
> policy makers from supporting OSS as a policy instrument.
> We need to explain that it's bad for the economy. We
> need to make it clear that companies like us are
> dependent on academic research being unencumbered by
> GPLish licenses.
> I choose 1), a bit presumptuously, because it just fits what I know of
> corporate culture at Microsoft (and for that matter, Sun , most of IBM,
> any number of other proprietary code companies). Heck, they could be right
> at that.
> 2), I have to admit, is more what *I* would worry about if I was at MS. If
> there's anywhere that Linux/Apache/PHP/Perl etc is undeniably having a
> *massive* adoption rate, it's among young developers and in academia. Even
> people who disparage the whole "slashdot kiddies" public appearence of
> source are acknowledging this. I don't know whether Microsoft feels this
is as
> much of a problem for their future as I do, but a lot of their explicit
> anti-OSS initatives (code sharing with universities, cheap development
> for undergrads, fake windows "installfests" even) are certainly aimed at
> market.
> 3), I believe that MS is overreacting here - but in a very
> MS way. They recently got badly burned by a new enemy, the
> they now believe to be big, dangerous and - by far the worst in MS's
> random. They've seen how a govt can affect them, and they believe it to be
> easily mislead by nice-sounding-theories and wacky hand-wavers. I think
> genuinely fear that RMS might bend the ear of some influential senators,
> introduce a "GPL for all Federal Software" law. Hence the clumsy
> dig by Allchin, and Mundies' obsession with protecting federal support for
> basic research.
> d.
> >
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Dave Winer" <>
> > To: <>
> > Sent: Thursday, May 03, 2001 9:56 PM
> > Subject: It's IBM dummy
> >
> >
> > > BTW, for those who don't have the liner notes, the Microsoft comments
> > about
> > > open source are almost certainly about IBM's marketing of open source
> > > programming against Microsoft's stuff in the .NET area. I don't think
> > > dare name IBM this specifically, for fear of helping them market their
> > > wares. Now when the analysts ask IBM about their strategy, they are
> > > with the checklist of questions to ask. "Uhhh, how does the GPL effect
> > your
> > > IP, Mr. IBM?" Markoff zeroed right in on this, interviewing the IBM
> > He
> > > says their lawyers understand how to build a firewall that keeps the
> > > from infecting everything that's not open source at IBM, which is
> > > everything other than Apache. Microsoft's answer is "Pfui." (To quote
> > > Wolf.) Speaking of which I'd love to see Lou Gerstner and Richard
> > > at a press conference explaining how their interests are aligned. This
> > would
> > > be one of those "I'm glad to have lived to see this" moments. Dave
> > >
> >
> >

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